Tra La La La La, Tra La La La, Happy Birthday… – Sweet Sixteen (1983)

There is nothing quite like watching a good slasher, even if it happens to be a little tame such as this one ends up being. There are killings within and they are bloody in nature and in classic slasher fashion, a knife is used to do away with the victims which might be a little ‘been there, done that,’ but it works and director Jim Sotos managed to make it interesting along the way. So while Sweet Sixteen may seem a little familiar, the actors and the solid direction more than make up for anything that might be lacking.

Starring Bo Hopkins as the Sheriff, Susan Strasberg as mom Joanne, Aleisa Shirley as Melissa – the girl who is turning sixteen and leader of the Avengers himself, Patrick Macnee, there is quite a bit of talent present in what amounts to be a low-budget horror. While it is a little surprising in a sense given who stars, it nevertheless manages to be solidly entertaining as bad girl Melissa, who is only fifteen years in age, always manages to end up being associated with the dead bodies that manage to turn up. As the easy-going sheriff, Hopkins’ character is definitely interested in solving the murders, perhaps not so much as his daughter and he does take his time in getting there, but the man is nothing if not thorough and eventually figures it out, though not before Melissa continues getting herself in more trouble than she can handle.

There is a nice twist in the movie and not where it comes to the murderer because one can almost guess who it is, but as to the victims who are all male, different than the usual hot, young co-eds that most slashers tend to feature. That distinctive clue almost points itself towards the culprit, but the film still manages to carry the viewer along until it is finally revealed during the last act and one cannot say that it was not at the very least engaging during that journey. There was of course, a bit of skin shown throughout, perhaps to make up for the lack of blood and guts, not to mention a little violence as miniscule as it was, but all in all, the performances of the cast managed to charm the audience fully for the picture’s duration.

Sweet Sixteen, which was both a slasher and a mystery all rolled into one, was quite enjoyable, but nothing especially memorable in the end and while it was worth seeing, repeated viewings should be saved for something just a little bit better.

3 out of 5

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